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Level, source, and distribution of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in agricultural soils of Tanzania

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Abstract

This study investigated the level, composition, and spatial and vertical distribution of the organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) at 0–2 cm and 2–20 cm in the agricultural surface soils from Southeastern to Central-western Tanzania. Although the most abundant OCPs were DDT with a mean concentration of 2.29 ng/g, dieldrin (1.57 ng/g), and methoxychlor (0.79 ng/g), HCH was the most dominant (with detection frequency of 88%). OCP dominance was in the Southern Highlands, which is the most productive agricultural zone. Though there were indicators of recent inputs for some sites, OCP contamination was mainly historical. DDT contamination was dominated by p,p′-DDE and resulted from both technical DDT and dicofol while HCH contamination was dominated by γ-HCH and resulted from both technical HCH and lindane. Based on depth, the OCPs dominated mainly the upper 2 cm, which was associated with soil and environmental factors rather than recent inputs since most of the detected compounds were historical. Nevertheless, some sites showed exceptional high abundance in the lower soil with more concentration of parent compounds. Therefore, this study recommends the need for further studies on the influence of soil properties on OCPs’ transport in the soil, surface water, and air. Besides, detection of recent inputs at some sites calls for more mapping of the OCPs in the country to strengthen their control and prevention of future risks.

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The dataset used in this study is available from the corresponding author upon request.

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Acknowledgements

The support of Mzumbe University in data collection, regional administrations for the permission to undertake the fieldwork, and the Ministry of Minerals (Tanzania) for the permission to transport the soil samples is highly appreciated.

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The authors received support of this research from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41503112).

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Nyihirani, F., Qu, C., Yuan, Z. et al. Level, source, and distribution of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in agricultural soils of Tanzania. Environ Monit Assess 194, 19 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-021-09631-9

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